Senate approves fiscal cliff deal

(WTNH) -- Early this morning the Senate voted in favor of a deal to avoid the so-called fiscal cliff. Now it's in the hands of the House of Representatives and getting them to pass the legislation may be a tougher job.

The Senate had been working long hours over the holidays in an attempt to avoid going over the fiscal cliff. Technically, we are already over the cliff, but Senators are hopeful that their compromise will pass in the Congress. That really depends on how many republicans support the deal, which at this point remains uncertain.

The number two House Republican Eric Cantor said earlier today that he could not support the Senate bill. He said leaders were looking for the best path forward and that no decisions had been made.

If they approve the deal, tax cuts will be extended for all workers earning less than 400-thousand dollars a year. The deal will also prevent a tax hike on estates valued at less than five million dollars.

It extends unemployment benefits for some two million people that were set to expire today. It also allocates 31-billion dollars to prevent cuts in medicare payments.

If they don't pass the bill or only agree to portions of it, it will head back to the Senate for re-evaluation.

United States Senator Richard Blumenthal says he hopes the house moves quickly.

"I am hopeful that their approving this compromise will enable us to avoid the severely damaging tax hikes that would come along with the end of unemployment insurance, tax credits for child care, tuition, and other very, very important measures for the middle class. If we can avoid this fiscal cliff, it will be very important to 1.4 million families in Connecticut," said. Senator Blumenthal.

There are roughly 43-thousand people in the state that will lose their unemployment insurance if this does not pass.

When News 8's Jacquie Slater spoke with Senator Blumenthal he said he has been more unhappy and frustrated these past two weeks than during his entire career in public service.

Blumenthal says he understands the public's growing concern with Washington and he hopes the government makes a new Year's resolution to seek more bipartisan coming together earlier and better than they did in this situation.

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